Feeling Sorry for Willie Sutton

It is entirely possible to pass long periods of time without feeling sorry for Willie Sutton. Whole lifetimes even. Many do, but I am not one of them.

Willie was a bank robber who made the FBI’s top 10 most wanted list (albeit ranked number 11), but he only stole about $2 million. For this he spent half his life in prison. That is why I feel sorry for him.

He could have done so much better.

He is most famous for a response to the question, “why do you rob banks?” Allegedly he said, “because that is where the money is.” Unfortunately, according to Snopes, he did not say anything of the kind. A reporter, Mitch Ohnstad, made it up.

Apparently this is the real reason: “Why did I rob banks? Because I enjoyed it. I loved it. I was more alive when I was inside a bank, robbing it, than at any other time in my life. I enjoyed everything about it so much that one or two weeks later I’d be out looking for the next job. But to me the money was the chips, that’s all.”

Had Willie Sutton not lived in simpler times, he might have chosen politics or lobbying to fatten his wallet. Had he done so, he would have made lots more money and spent far less time in prison.

Forget banks, government is where the money is and almost nobody gets prosecuted.

Inevitably, this leads to a discussion of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obama care) and the American Health Care Act (aka McConnell care). Okay, I concede that a shift from Willie Sutton to the health care law is not actually inevitable, but do you know how hard it is to lure people into reading about health care?

Why is health care in America so screwed up? Curiously it is not all that difficult.

Obama care is failing because it did nothing about controlling costs.

Hospitals, insurers and pharmaceutical companies assured there would be no controlling of costs related to them by lavishly showering contributions on Democratic lawmakers. Republicans were not needed, were not lavished upon and did not vote for it.

I doubt these companies have any line of business that has a higher return on investment than political contributions.

Now it is the turn of the Republicans.

McConnell care will fail because it does nothing about controlling costs.

Hospitals, insurers and pharmaceutical companies have again assured there would be no controlling of costs related to them by lavishly showering contributions on Republican lawmakers. Democrats are not needed, are not lavished upon and will not vote for it.

They had their turn at the trough.

Health care is complicated and it would be plenty difficult to fix it even without the constraints placed upon the fixing by the industry working furiously not to be fixed.

Chances are the version being considered today will not pass because the math does not work. Too many people will lack coverage. But the current law doesn’t work either because it is far too expensive.

“Math doesn’t work” or “far too expensive” are really kind of the same. Our elected officials have been bribed to make both of them true.

I am feeling sorry for Willie Sutton because I bet he would have thrived in such an environment.


10 Responses to “Feeling Sorry for Willie Sutton”

Livingston Miller, July 10, 2017 at 10:32 am said:

Did you know the Dog Day Afternoon guy’s first job application upon release from prison was to a bank as a security guard? Willie Sutton would have liked that except the pay sucks.


Bob Smith, July 10, 2017 at 10:39 am said:

“He could have done so much better.”

Yes, he could have taken 12 (b)1 fees.


Haven Pell, July 10, 2017 at 10:51 am said:

the life blood of the funds management industry


GARRARD GLENN, July 10, 2017 at 12:09 pm said:

Nowadays, Willie would have started up a consulting firm with regard to bank security upon
release from prison. This would have eventually led to an appearance on the Bill Maher “Real Time” t.v. show. Maher would have been careful to feed Willie canned yoks he could regurgitate on the show, thus increasing his t.v. likability rating, known as a TVQ rating. This in turn would have led to a guest appearance on the T.V. show “Celebrity Apprentice,” President Donald Trump’s former t.v. show. This appearance would formally sanctify Willie’s new status as a celebrity.

Next step: cyber bank security. Willie knows nothing about this brave new world, but his newly heightened celebrity status allows him to attract a small phalanx of geeks to his new shop. They know a great deal about it. His company prospers, as continuing t.v. appearances
bolster his publicity and popularity. Maher gives him an invaluable tip: always hire t.v. comedy
writers to supply you with relevant quips and yoks prior to any t.v. appearance. Maher himself
has been doing this for 20 years.

Next step: start appearing before Congress as an “expert witness” after a flurry of bank and corporate security cyber breaches committed by various Russians and Chinese. Solutions to the problem can be suggested, but they need not be realistic or effective, as no member of Congress or the media will follow up to vet Willie’s suggestions.

Final step: start a new lobbying company in Washington D.C. after partnering with existing bank lobbyists and p.r. operatives. The ostensible mission of the company will be to change existing laws and regulations that hamper bank security, but the real mission will be to loosen
restrictions with regard to derivatives trading, money laundering, and red lining.

In 5 years Willie could be making 5 million dollars a year. As a front man for a company about
which he knows very little, and could care less. But he never loses sight of his core insight: banks are where the money is.


Haven Pell, July 10, 2017 at 4:52 pm said:

Who knew success could be so easy? Willie was born in the wrong generation. Likely he could have “given back” after his great success perhaps choosing to lavish his largesse on criminal justice reform.


Tim Warburton, July 11, 2017 at 10:50 am said:

And then there is the part about controlling the costs. Robert F. Kennedy jr makes the point that in 1987 the Congress essentially waived any liabity for Vaccines. In other words companies cannot be sued for making poor vaccines. A rush to the vaccine market ensued. He also stated that The CDC spends 4.1 Billion on advertising and 20 Million on vaccine research. IE the CDC is a captive Agency of Big Pharma.
He went on to say most news anchors refuse to have him on because. 17 of 24 ads on nightly news are big Pharma, and the anchors are petrified of saying or having a guest saying anything bad about Pharma.
He also said that baby boomers had 4 vaccinations in the 50’s – today most kids have 69-74 of which more than half have never been tested like normal drug, going through the FDA.


Haven Pell, July 12, 2017 at 1:53 pm said:

I saw him on TV the other night making this case.


Brandy, July 11, 2017 at 8:34 pm said:

When did things go wrong, as a kid the doc’s came to us, Med care was paid out-of-pocket like car repair.
Now prices are not competition based. Were we to have a med clinics on four corner intersections (like gasoline stations) prices might be reasonable again?


Haven Pell, July 12, 2017 at 1:54 pm said:

there are strong forces trying to keep prices high


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